Sunday, May 12, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Study: Natural settings stretch our sense of time

Published today 12:29
- By Editorial Staff

A study from the University of Turku shows that nature can change people’s perception of time. For example, people can feel a heightened sense of time, and spending time in natural environments can also help them see the “bigger picture” of life, especially when they are stressed.

Time can often feel scarce for modern people, with work, family, friends, leisure and household chores all intertwined. Technology of various kinds can also make the perception of time feel narrower.

In new research from the University of Turku in Finland, psychologist Richardo Correia suggests that spending time in nature can also change the way we see time and our perception of time in general.

“Given the increasing time scarcity in modern urban societies, with serious consequences for human health and well-being, I argue that we need a better understanding of how nature experiences shape our perception of time, and suggest how future research can provide actionable insights to help restore a healthier and more balanced relationship with time and nature”, the psychologist writes in People and Nature.

The study compared people’s experiences of time as they performed various tasks in both urban and natural environments. It found that people consistently experienced a heightened sense of time in natural environments compared to urban environments.

For example, people were more likely to perceive a walk in nature as longer than a walk in an urban environment. Time was also perceived to pass more slowly when doing chores in a natural environment compared to a city.

Nature heals

The reason that spending time in nature can change how we perceive time may be because nature is actually healing in many ways, and studies show that spending time in nature is good for both health and well-being.

For example, previous research has shown that nature has a calming effect and helps us shift our focus from the immediate moment to our future needs. In other words, nature helps us see the bigger picture of life rather than focusing on the stress of the present. For example, it could help us prioritize actions to achieve long-term goals rather than living in a state of “just trying to keep my head above water.

Being in nature also seems to make you less impulsive, making it easier to delay immediate gratification in favor of longer-term rewards. A 2020 study also found that time awareness increases when doing chores in a natural setting compared to an urban environment.

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